Dive into Digital

Feb 01, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Executive


David Johnson
Across industries, marketers are recognizing the power of digital marketing to establish real-time relationships with new and current customers while maintaining the ability to track and analyze customer touches and adjust accordingly. Looking at the digital landscape from a media-spend perspective, total Internet ad spend ($21.2 billion) in 2007 was up 26 percent from the year before, according to the Internet Advertising Board. A similar increase is expected for 2008.

But it's not just about Internet advertising. Smart marketers in B2C and B2B are utilizing a variety of digital channels—Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, social networks, and video—to engage with customers and create thriving relationships. What separates these marketers from others who may be experimenting with new media strategies? Channel integration.


KEY FINDING: Manufacturers concerns in adopting digital marketing tactics; experience, ROI measurement top list
Integration of these channels with traditional outlets such as TV, radio, direct mail, and direct sales, coupled with rigorous analysis, allows marketers to understand the consumption patterns of their content. This gives them the information to adjust their marketing mix, pushing spend toward channels that work, and pulling dollars from channels that don't work.

Going Digital

The pharmaceutical industry is facing formidable challenges. From influencing physicians to educating consumers to overseeing relationships with managed care organizations, pharma has unique market dynamics that make the go-to-market model far more complicated than a traditional push/pull paradigm. Interwoven with this complexity is the challenge of determining what actually drives prescription volume, and how to drive growth with increasingly tight budgets and new regulations amid high-risk product launches.


KEY FINDING: Overall effectiveness of the new media platforms that you have used (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being most effective)
While other industries are beginning to take a multichannel marketing approach, pharma still prefers a "feet on the street" sales rep model. Top pharmaceutical companies are now experimenting with Web 2.0 strategies, but they have yet to put the pieces together to enable digital marketing outcomes to permeate their organizations.

To find out just how far pharma marketers have come in implementing Web 2.0 strategies—and how far industry has to go—in 2008 MarketBridge and Pharmaceutical Executive magazine fielded "Digital Marketing in Pharma," a groundbreaking survey designed to shed light on the prevalence and effectiveness of digital marketing tools and techniques.

Details and Demographics

The following research was distributed primarily among Pharmaceutical Executive's subscribers and MarketBridge's Life Sciences Practice database. A total of 220 people completed the survey, answering questions on digital marketing and budgeting, usage of digital marketing channels, analytics, resources, and attitudes and beliefs.

Because of the respondents' wide range of job titles and responsibilities, the survey findings were segmented into four basic categories:

1. Executives: Presidents, CEOs, and other C-level titles that have authority over marketing and sales

2. Marketing: EVPs, vice presidents, directors, and managers of marketing organizations

3. Sales: EVPs, vice presidents, directors, and managers of sales organizations

4. Support: People who do not have direct authority over sales and marketing but may support one or both, including directors, managers of interactive, and operations